San Diego is the definition of Southern California. The famous city offers a winning combination of city hustle and bustle mixed with gorgeous natural beauty. Whether you’re surfing or sunbathing at Ocean Beach or exploring the many public gardens and museums, you’ll never run out of family-friendly fun in “America’s Finest City.” San Diego is also known for its fantastic food, featuring everything from casual fresh seafood joints to exquisite fine dining. Numerous top attractions and restaurants are located just minutes away from many incredible vacation rentals in San Diego. Here are 10 of the best kid-friendly restaurants for your family to enjoy while you’re in town.
1. Corvette Diner
The Corvette Diner is a favorite dining spot for locals and tourists. It’s a retro 50’s-style diner that features tasty eats and live entertainment, including balloon artists and magicians. The diner also features a 5,000-foot area called the Gamer’s Garage, where you’ll find more than 50 games, from classic pinball to the latest virtual reality simulators. To top it all off, the servers sing and dance on the hour every hour, and parents and kids are encouraged to get up and join in. As far as the food goes, you won’t be disappointed by the classic burgers, shakes, and other traditional 50’s diner fare. The menu also boasts a huge selection of creative twists on old classics.
2. Waypoint Public
If you’re seeking a relaxing brunch or an upscale dish in a casual environment, Waypoint Public is the perfect place to enjoy a meal. Located in the ultra-hip North Park area, the restaurant attracts an eclectic crowd of parents with kids. The restaurant features a designated kid’s area with books, games, and fun activities. The kids menu includes kid-friendly favorites, such as grilled cheese, chicken bites, and cheeseburgers, and there’s even a separate kids menu for brunch. As an added bonus, the kids can draw on the menu and play games and puzzles while they wait for their food. Parents will love their dining experience too, as the diverse menu is created by Executive Chef Amanda Baumgarten from the TV show, “Top Chef.”
3. Ajisen Ramen
If you’re in the mood for some mouthwatering Japanese cuisine, Ajisen Ramen is a great choice. The extensive menu features classic items, such as sushi, salads, and rice dishes, but the ramen noodles are truly the star of the show. The restaurant prepares its own fresh noodles every day, and the broth is slowly simmered to perfection. There’s a kids-sized ramen bowl for your young ones, or they can opt for the fried chicken karaage meal if they’re not in the mood for soup. Both kids meals include a side of delectable gyoza dumplings.
4. Grater Grilled Cheese
The grilled cheese sandwich is a staple among hungry children, and this fantastic restaurant takes the classic to new heights. Parents will love the upscale variations, including lobster grilled cheese, avocado grilled cheese, and cordon bleu grilled cheese. The kid’s menu includes a classic grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese, and chicken tenders. Kids can opt for the grown-up version of these dishes if they feel like trying something a little different. Don’t forget to order a side of the delicious tomato basil bisque for dippin’!
5. Casa de Reyes
Located in San Diego’s delightful Old Town area, Casa de Reyes offers traditional Mexican comfort food in a kid-friendly environment. The setting is absolutely gorgeous, featuring outdoor gardens, fire pits, and live entertainment every day of the week on the Fiesta de Reyes stage. The menu includes virtually any Mexican dish you can imagine, plus a few that might be new to your family. The adults are sure to appreciate the vast selection of specialized margaritas. The “little amigos” menu includes a variety of delicious options, including chicken tenders, a bean and cheese burrito, and a quesadilla.
6. Tribute Pizza
Tribute Pizza offers a relaxed, casual family atmosphere and delicious wood-fired pizza pies. If the kids want their own item, they can order a personal cheese pie or macaroni and cheese. The adults are sure to appreciate the variety of wines and craft beers available. If you have any room left over, finish off the meal with a delicious soft-serve ice cream dessert.
7. Panama 66
Panama 66 is located within one of San Diego’s most popular attractions, Balboa Park. The location alone is reason enough to visit, but the food doesn’t disappoint. The restaurant uses seasonal, local ingredients, so the menu changes regularly. Salads and sandwiches are the main attractions, as well as a huge list of cocktails, beers, and wines. There are plenty of options for the kids too, including peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches, and pizza. While you order, the kids can play in the sculpture garden that’s adjacent to the restaurant.
8. Station Tavern & Burgers
The Station Tavern is nestled in the heart of the South Park neighborhood, and it offers fresh comfort food in a relaxed environment. Take in the fantastic SoCal weather on the patio while you eat at charming picnic tables. The backyard area also has a designated kid’s play area that features a wooden trolley, a chalkboard, and other fun activities. The kid’s menu includes favorites such as tater tots, hot dogs, and grilled cheese. The parents will love the variety of burgers, sandwiches, salads, and other classic comfort fare.
9. Filippi’s Pizza Grotto
Filippi’s Pizza Grotto is the place to go when you’re craving Italian food. The atmosphere can be lively and loud, but it’s still a family-friendly joint that’s welcoming to all ages. The owners are from New York, and they brought their delectable East Coast-style Italian cuisine to San Diego. Adults can enjoy a wide selection of pasta, pizzas, salads, and more. The kids can choose from smaller portions of lasagna, ravioli, and spaghetti, with optional sides of meatballs or sausages.
10. The WaveHouse Beach Club
Everyone loves a beachside meal, and that’s exactly what you get at The WaveHouse Beach Club. It’s located on the Mission Beach boardwalk, just seconds from the Belmont Park amusement park. The toes-in-the-sand beach environment is super laid back, and you can watch people surf while you eat. The atmosphere is pure SoCal, featuring outdoor cabanas, palm trees, tiki bars, and fire pits. The menu includes a variety of upscale comfort foods from truffle fries to peel n’ eat shrimp baskets. There’s also a great kids menu with fish & chips, chicken strips, and grilled cheese.
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